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A Lost Summer

Friends, fans, and fellow nerds: I have a sad personal announcement to make.

It’s been an honor to portray Ma1nfram3 on Shadowrun: Corporate SINs these last 16 months. We recently decided that we will end our story on June 28, just a few short weeks away. It’s bittersweet, but it’s actually a great luxury to get to end the story on our own terms, and we’re grateful for this extended final run. So that’s not the sad announcement!

After CorpSINs ends, the cast will be launching a 4-week miniseries called SkyWatch on HyperRPG, which is exciting news. Unfortunately, I will not be joining the cast for this miniseries, and I just wanted to drop a quick note as to why.

Some of you may know that I ran my first marathon somewhat spontaneously in January. That experience heightened some symptoms I’d been experiencing for a while. I went to a specialist expecting to be rebuffed as a hypochondriac or scolded for overexertion. And at first we indeed thought these might be “athlete” problems (ha!) But long story short, we instead discovered I’ve been living with multiple complex – and growing – ovarian tumors. The MRI technicians suspect they are endometriomas, which means that many of the migraines and other symptoms I’ve lived with for a decade might have a single root cause: undiagnosed endometriosis.

Unfortunately, according to my oncologist, the recommended treatment given circumstances and my history (if these were correctly diagnosed) would be a full hysterectomy/oophrectomy, which will be fairly traumatic given my relatively young age. My surgery is scheduled just before SkyWatch begins. As the cast explores new characters and new worlds, I’ll be tackling one of my biggest physical and emotional challenges to date (which is saying something). For a while I thought I’d have to leave CorpSINs early, so at least we get to see Ma1nfram3 through to whatever end awaits in 3 weeks’ time.

The “good” news is that I’m booked at a top 100 hospital with a very experienced oncologist using DaVinci robotic laparoscopy. I’m expected to make a full recovery well before I begin my Scandinavian speaking tour this fall (more announcements on that front to come…) and as much as possible I’m working to keep my strength up to speed my recovery. I will likely do some solo streaming during the recovery process, and I also hope I’ll be able to return to Hyper RPG as a guest once I acclimate to post-menopausal life and complete that European tour.

During this CorpSINs journey, I have had the opportunity to grow as an actor, rediscover a love of analog gaming, hear from fans around the globe, and against all odds had my faith in humanity restored by the wonderful Thumper community. Thank you to everyone who has watched the show, and even more thanks to those who participated in some way, whether the fantastic fan art, creative writing, Wikia, Tweets, Discord, or the many generous donations that helped HyperRPG and several charities we cared about along the way. As an artist, I am deeply humbled that you found our stories compelling enough to share, celebrate and even expand with your own creativity.

Thank you to the CorpSINs cast for making this journey so memorable and bearing with me during these difficult months, and to everyone at Hyper RPG for such an incredible opportunity. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and very meaningful to me.

Thank you, all. Stay safe in the shadows.

And keep up on those doctors’ appointments – you never know what you’re going to find.

Q: How long will you be gone? Maybe you can guest on Skywatch?
A: I will be in recovery and out of work, including my day job and avocational acting and speaking engagements – for 4-6 weeks. This also means I’ve had to withdraw from this summer’s run of Where No Man Has Gone Before. It’s a particularly heartbreaking time, but I don’t really have much other choice. I know what happens if these tumors get bigger; I’ve been there before.

Q: I wanted to book you for a speaking engagement. Can we still talk?
A: Certainly! I am only unavailable during July and August for speaking engagements. I’m already almost fully booked in September and October with international engagements in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. I can still discuss engagements in the Pacific Northwest for most of 2017, and for international engagements I’m accepting inquiries (workshops, talks, or keynotes) for December 2017 and all of 2018.

Q: Are you OK?
A: If I’m honest? Not really, right now. But the doctors think I will be again someday, ideally sooner rather than later after surgery.

Q: Can I help?
A: Probably not, but thank you. I don’t need snacks, medical advice, platitudes, or pity. Empathy, pleasant distractions, kind thoughts, funny GIFs, prayers, and Pikachu video clips are welcome.

Q: Why share so much detail?
A: Because other women in my life shared their experiences with me. My ovaries have been trying to kill me for 11 years. In this time when women’s access to healthcare is under attack, I want to be open about what many women face and why access to care is so important. The women in your life may be suffering.

Q: Fertility! Kids! You’re a woman! Don’t you want that?
A: It was not meant to be. My husband and I hadn’t planned on it anyway; now that decision is final. My contribution to society is not going to be biological, but that doesn’t mean I won’t contribute. I have a stepson, a goddaughter, and a niece.

Q: How many doctors do you have?
Seven. I have seven doctors. They talk about me with each other. That’s probably a bad sign?

Q: Wait, so you ran that whole marathon with 2 tumors?
Yes. Yes I did.

In the meantime, don’t miss our last episodes of Corporate SINs through June 28 or our behind the scenes special on July 5. Then watch my fellow castmates on Skywatch starting July 19. All times Wednesdays 6-9PM Pacific time at http://twitch.tv/hyperrpg.

Please follow my Twitter (@muppetaphrodite) if you want periodic updates during recovery.

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